Jeff Burum


Jeff Burum
Created: 04/23/2011 07:07:31 AM PDT

It is clear to me that prosecutors want to re-create the history of the Colonies settlement without the facts and have no intention of clearing my name. Over the last two and a half years, they have not only ignored the facts of multiple court rulings but they have demonstrated a total disregard for the truth and the law.

The truth will eventually come out and I will be cleared of the prosecutors’ purported “scheme to conspire.” After all, we live in a country where we all get equal protection under the law whether prosecutors like it or not. Trying to prove guilt where none exists underestimates the power of honesty and my belief in our great nation and its judicial system. We live in a country where a businessman like me from humble beginnings can stand up to government when government is wrong – whether it is a flood control district or a law enforcement division.

During the initial five years of continual courtroom battles, my partners and I fought against lawyers and government employees who forced us to build one of the largest flood control facilities in Southern California at our own expense. They misused their position of power and misstated the facts with taxpayer-funded lawyers who were constantly rewarded for giving bad legal advice. They believed we would either run out of money fighting back or we would just capitulate.

The government backed us into a corner with no alternative but to go to court and seek justice. We won decisively in every legal venue, and not one court opinion rendered required us to build the basin – and we didn’t win because judges wanted to help us or because foul play was at work, as some have implied maliciously and with no basis. That didn’t happen. We won because the facts, the truth, and the law were on our side.

During this period, we spent over $28 million dollars on attorney’s fees and on building the basin. After three court trials, the San Bernardino County Flood Control District ignored the Superior Court and Court of Appeal rulings and what they could and could not do on our property.

Prosecutors eager to win notoriety for cleaning up corruption have characterized the settlement as corrupt and wrongfully stated I orchestrated the outcome of the lawsuit from the very beginning. Prosecutors have stated we “schemed and conspired” from the time of the initial lawsuit in 2002 to defraud taxpayers out of the $102 million settlement, but completely ignore the facts of the case. The county’s actions had exposed it to a $300 million judgment.

The conspiracy assertion is as ludicrous as the flood control staff and lawyers believing that they had the right to force a private property owner to do whatever they demanded. The fact of the matter is that the county didn’t want to pay for the flood basin or the $102million settlement, so it hid the truth and paid lawyers to spin their story. The law is clear: the government cannot take private property without just compensation nor misuse its authority without consequences.

This week, we provided the criminal grand jury with what should be enough evidence to prove not only that we are innocent of any ridiculous conspiracy charge but that the county has been wrong all along. Unfortunately, I was compelled to provide information not only in regard to the underlying case, but included documentation and evidence defending my character in response to made-up stories, lies, gossip and innuendo leaked to the press and others. The constant barrage and stream of untruths emanates from individuals who have their own motives.

The battle over the flood control basin is the real issue, and yet prosecutors have turned it into a conspiracy charge to shade the truth. The facts we presented prove beyond any rational person’s reasonable doubt that it is not possible to have conspired to bring about these events. Documents and the fundamentals are rooted in case law decided before I was born.

Based upon the actions of the prosecutors over the last two years and the expectations they have created, it is clear that they are not willing to give up and face the public’s wrath for admitting they were wrong about our settlement. They want to indict me for political contributions that they are calling bribes but in fact and in truth were contributions that were made four to seven months after the settlement. They were not made in return for any action that any official took and were legal, open, and properly reported contributions from the Colonies partnership to political action committees. The contributions referred to were not made directly to any of the county supervisors the prosecutors claim were “bribed.” In fact, we made contributions to the one supervisor who was always opposed to and initially voted against the settlement.

I know that it is not easy to withstand the pressure of lawyers carrying law enforcement badges and that is why Bill Postmus pled guilty to things that I know he did not do. However, any indictment that the prosecutors may conjure up would surely get thrown out of court or defeated with the same facts that we have provided to the Grand Jury.

I do not know why people in government who take an oath to uphold the law make the choices they make. But I do know that their actions have greatly affected me, my family and many other innocent people. No innocent American should have to endure what I and others around me have encountered at the hands of government officials without regard to the harm caused over the past 10 years.

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